17 November 2015

"Thousands of corporations are using forced arbitration clauses to deny the rights of ripped-off consumers."

In today's e-mail I received a notice of a petition to congress regarding the Arbitration Fairness Act (S. 1133 and H.R. 2087) which looks like an issue that needs attention from we, the people.  The sponsoring organization, Public Citizen, is an organization founded by Ralph Nader in 1971 "dedicated to protecting health, safety, and democracy."  The request asks of us:  "Tell Congress: Ban Forced Arbitration Congress Should Restore Consumer Rights by Passing the Arbitration Fairness Act." 

Most of us recognize that corporations have far more power in relation to we, the people, than is healthy for our nation.  As such, this petition is about legislation that prevents corporations from turning the screws tighter with a "rigged system of private arbitration" by the use of 'corporations’ handpicked arbitrators instead of impartial judges".

Myself, I like to read the actual legislation before signing anything because I have encountered petitions that are misleading about the legislation of concern because after reading the bill it became clear the problem cited by the petition request was not actually a problem.  In fact I have found petitions that are not related in any way to the pending bills cited! 

I also like to read articles and opinions about pending legislation prior to signing petitions advising our elected and appointed officials.  It is not difficult to get a good idea about this particular issue at the petition site because it provides useful information links.  The petition, itself, is one brief sentence, direct and to the point. 

The links at the petition site lead us to a New York Times Editorial, also to a blog of the organization sponsoring the petition in which a three part series in New York Times is cited, part 1 being from 31 October.  I included those links, below.  
The legislation is referred to as "the Arbitration Fairness Act" (S. 1133 and H.R. 2087) so I plugged in "Arbitration Fairness Act" at the Library of Congress THOMAS website search.  Bill numbers can be used to search, also.  The THOMAS website is "in the spirit of Thomas Jefferson, legislative information from the Library of Congress". 

THOMAS produced House and Senate versions of the bill: 

 1. H.R.2087 : Arbitration Fairness Act of 2015
Sponsor: Rep Johnson, Henry C. "Hank," Jr. [GA-4] (introduced 4/29/2015)      Cosponsors (74)
Committees: House Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 6/26/2015 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial And Antitrust Law.

2. S.1133 : Arbitration Fairness Act of 2015
Sponsor: Sen Franken, Al [MN] (introduced 4/29/2015)      Cosponsors (18)
Committees: Senate Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 4/29/2015 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

Sometimes THOMAS links go to Congress.gov.  Actually THOMAS and Congress.gov  are two different federal government websites, but Congress.gov states: "Congress.gov is replacing THOMAS.gov. The retirement date of THOMAS will be announced in early 2016." 

It looks like THOMAS links provide more details associated with the legislation than GovTrack.  But it is possible to formulate an opinion without all the associated legislative details associated with process.  I also plugged in "Arbitration Fairness Act" at the GovTrack "Search for Legislation" which also produced the House and Senate versions of the bill. 

H.R. 2087: Arbitration Fairness Act of 2015
Sponsor: Rep. Henry “Hank” Johnson [D-GA4]
Introduced: Apr 29, 2015
Referred to Committee: Apr 29, 2015

S. 1133: Arbitration Fairness Act of 2015
Sponsor: Sen. Alan “Al” Franken [D-MN]
Introduced: Apr 29, 2015
Referred to Committee: Apr 29, 2015

Let us remember that Ralph Nader started successfully leading the charge associated with consumer rights decades ago and has stayed with it, consistently, all these years.  When Public Citizen is advocating for an issue I consider it is worth my attention because Nader's work for consumer rights and safety has been and continues to be of immeasurable value to we, the people, collectively. 

If you know about this issue and think we should be advising our Congress people of our wishes then, hopefully, you will take a moment to check out the petition link, and if it seems reasonable sign the petition requesting of Congress that it ban forced arbitration by restoring consumer rights with the passing of the Arbitration Fairness Act.  If you are not familiar with the issue then, hopefully, you will make use of the links to look further into the issue, then sign if it seems reasonable.

"Thousands of corporations are using forced arbitration clauses to deny the rights of ripped-off consumers.

These clauses block ripped-off consumers from holding corporations accountable in court.  Instead, consumers are routed into the rigged system of private arbitration, where decisions are in the hands of corporations’ handpicked arbitrators instead of impartial judges.

It’s time for Congress to step up and stop these unconscionable clauses once and for all."

13 November 2015

Our Electromagnetic Spectrum Problem Children: EMF, EMR, ELF and ES

Today I checked out a page with many articles in the Electromagnetism Category, including: 
1.  International Scientists Appeal to U.N. to Protect Humans and Wildlife from Electromagnetic Fields and Wireless Technology
2.  Student Science Experiment Finds Plants Won’t Grow Near Wi-Fi Router
3.  Spectacular Documentary On The Health Implications of Mobile Phone Technology
4.  Neurosurgeon Shows How Low Levels of Radiation Such As Wi-Fi, Smart Meters And Cell Phones Cause The Blood Brain Barrier To Leak 
5.  Environmental Physicians Issue Stern Warning on Biological and Health Effects from Electromagnetic Field Exposures (full document only available in pdf) 

These article are about a saturation with a high level of low to mid-frequency radiation known as Extremely Low Frequency (ELF).  To get a good idea of differences and similarities among Electro-magnetic Fields (EMF), Electro-Magnetic Radiation (EMR), ELF (which is also EMF/EMR), and Electromagnetic Sensitivity (ES)  there is a brief article about Electric and Magnetic Fields from National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences with useful graphs and links to more information and related topics.

Clearly there are many concerns which have become much more pressing due to the ELF from increasingly wide-spread wireless coverage, access, and exposure.  One of my own biggest concerns is the utility company deciding to go wireless with Smart Meters.  Granted, Electro-magnetic Fields (EMF)/Electro-Magnetic Radiation (EMR) are everywhere around us, but there is a very high level of ELF at homes with Smart Meters.  The location of the meters has a lot to do with the "unexplained" symptoms of many people which are actually symptoms of Electromagnetic Sensitivity (ES). 

Excerpt from number five, above:  Environmental Physicians Issue Stern Warning on Biological and Health Effects from Electromagnetic Field Exposures (full document only available in pdf)

  1. •Headaches •Nausea •Brain Fog •Memory Problems • Fatigue
  2. •Dizziness •Insomnia
  3. •Heart Pain/Palpitations •Swollen Lymph Nodes
  4. •Intestinal Disturbances •Eye Pain •Dry Eyes •Vision Problems
  5. •Night Sweats •Excessive Thirst
  6. •Increased Allergies/Sensitivities
The wireless-for-everyone-all-the-time era started becoming universal, in part, at first because of the "coolness" factors of "keeping up with the Jones' " and "peer pressure" and merchandise "deals" available ONLY via phones and tablets.  I got myself a pay-as-you-go cell phone in the early days for emergency use only while driving cross county.  Now, with the convenience of being able to call, text, be online anytime, anywhere, which is sometimes mandated by employers for accessibility, most folks choose not to look at the big picture associated with Environmental Health.  Yet, a big picture exists of which all should be aware.  It will get much worse before it gets better with precedent setting environmental health issues and legislation as indicators.

For example, lets compare the ELF issue to the second hand smoke issue which, through the years, was found to create as many or more health issues in people who do not smoke, because they were being exposed to the second hand smoke of those who do.  Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, children were the most vulnerable victims.  Eventually, after many decades we have finally seen changes in levels of exposure to second hand smoke.  They are associated with laws having been formulated to protect the health of unwitting victims of second hand smoke - then laws being enforced.  Laws on the books are useless unless they are enforced.  And it has not been unusual that we, the people, have needed to put the pressure on so that laws actually are enforced, appropriately. 

This ELF and ES issues are little different in theory than the second hand smoke issue all the way around to include the need for policy making.  They have a wide-spread and increasingly consistent negative effect on huge populations, and seem somewhat imperceptible given that most of the symptoms can also be stress related, and are also symptoms related to numerous other health issues, thus are almost always discounted at first as being stress related. Thus, it becomes simply a matter of how long the collective "lowest common denominator" who chooses to ignore and deny the health problems from ELF,  will jeopardize everyone's health including their own, for the habit of convenience, as Electromagnetic Sensitivity (ES) increasingly affects larger populations. 

This concern is nothing new, actually.  There have been studies for many decades about the effects of EMF on folks who live near power plants, transformers, and high power transmission lines.  FYI:  Electricity Transmission (not the research, only information on how electricity moves, brief and well presented).  And of course there has been broadcasting of radio for over a century, also electric lights and appliances, later t.v., satellite, and microwave for at least 3/4 of a century.

Clearly with wireless having become a universal "addiction" (as in "need"), it would seem that shielding is the only answer.  But would that work?  And how might it work?  How could protecting everyone from a range of EMF not be a huge debate that industry will avoid and try to minimize as long as possible, because of shielding costs.  But, again how would shielding work, since wireless access is all about widely broadcasting ELF?  I don't know.  But it is something we all need to consider, wonder about, then find pertinent information and inform our elected and appointed government officials of our valid and pressing concerns.

Would all buildings and vehicles need to be shielded along with the equipment that broadcasts EMF?  Or would individuals need to shield themselves . . . . and how would that work?   How about routers, and modems in one's home?  Broadcasting ELF signals is how they work, the same as ELF being broadcast outdoors.  Is there actually a shielding solution?  I don't know.  What I do know is that my own home and equipment are wired - my preference.  But I have no choice about the ELF all around that is going to and from my neighbors' homes, nor the ELF in every public place, nor do I have a choice about the Smart Meters that have been installed. 

Long before I learned of the symptoms Smart Meters cause, I was experiencing some of them. Until I read more about Smart Meter ELF I didn't make the connection.  Then I did make the connection because in retrospect problems with sleeping in my bedroom manifested not long after the installation of Smart Meters.  It is to the point that I don't sleep well in the bedroom.  Apparently it is Electromagnetic Sensitivity (ES) which increases over time because of exposure to ELF.

What recourse is there for mandatory Smart Meters?  Unless and until people get with it and figure out what is happening there will continue to be no recourse.  As usual, it is up to we, the people, to start talking about this issue with our elected and appointed government officials at all levels.  And, as usual, we will need to provide credible research, and if necessary sit with them to read pertinent sections, or whole studies, until they get on board and can be trusted to take the health issues and research, seriously; once medical personnel start to recognize and admit that stress related symptoms are also being caused by ELF.  There is a lot of work to be accomplished not the least of which is getting the health industry on board.

We have a serious electrosmog problem, people.  We can continue to ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist, or we can have the courage to actually care about posterity, if not ourselves, then learn enough to understand the problems and do our jobs of addressing the issues with our elected and appointed government officials.

"The "electrosmog" that first began developing with the rollout of the electrical grid a century ago and now envelops every inhabitant of Earth is responsible for many of the diseases that impair or kill them.
During the past 100 years, we have methodically filled in the electromagnetic spectrum far beyond what occurs in nature."  From:  Cell Phone are Dangerous, But This May Be Far Worse. . .

The article addresses electrosmog, including pervasive "dirty electricity".  It is a  by-product of energy-efficient electronics.  There are also details about what happens to DNA because of it.  We are, after all, electrical beings.  And the issue here is EMF as an environmental toxin. 

My intention is not "fear-mongering", even though reading about the problems admittedly is on the scary side.  Why would I want to contribute to that?  There are way too many efforts all around us to manipulate our emotions for the benefits of others which usually is associated with greed for money and power (like in political leverage).  Simply consider advertising - and electioneering; also consider news reporting, to the point of obsession that concentrates on. thus "glorifies" catastrophe and crime. 

Whatever else it also is, our modern world is too often experienced as a vicious cycle of emotional manipulation which of course creates stress.  We need to choose our battles wisely.  And a myriad of battles exist all around us vying for the priority attention of responsible citizens of our nations and the world.  Ordinarily folks do not recognize the need to prioritize a variety of pressing issues until their lives are personally affected in some way or another by both recognized and unrecognized issues which become overwhelming problems. 

To embrace an attitude of prevention requires foresight and a good grasp of the big-picture regarding cause and effect, plus the ability to adequately communicate and discuss problems that will develop and are developing.  And it requires being detail oriented with skill in creating processes associated with desired outcome for the purpose of formulating effective plans for crisis management when the problems do develop - and they will develop.  We all have a vital part to play but first we must recognize the problems that do exist.